As the number of days in 2014 dwindles, one thing is clear, 2014 was a great year.
We enjoyed beautiful weather, amazing customers, new friends and new wine discoveries. With that being said, I know that many of you have been patiently waiting for us to announce our wines of the year. So, I give to you, The Wine Shack’s “Wines of the Year”:
• No. 1: Sleight of Hand “Illusionist” Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011 (Walla Walla, Wash.).
For two years in a row, The Wine Shack’s “Wine of the Year” is a cabernet sauvignon, which is amazing, considering we live in the land of pinot noir!
The “Illusionist” delivers classic cab sauv flavors of black cherries, tobacco, chocolate and spice. This wine is smooth, with a rich mouth feel. Despite being young, this cab sauv is ready to drink now. This delicious Washington wine was first discovered by my employee, Joe Lebold, at the 2014 “Taste of Walla Walla” in March. From the first day “Illusionist” hit the shelves, it has been one of our store’s best sellers. If you don’t believe me, Wine Enthusiast gave this wine 94 points, a smoking hot score!
• No. 2: Brown Estate Zinfandel, 2012 (Napa, Calif.).
I’m a zinfandel fan and this is possibly the best zin I’ve ever tasted. This wine delivers red and black cherry with a hint of smokiness. I loved that it was juicy and smooth at the same time. Personally, I would enjoy this wine with barbecue spare ribs or beef brisket. This is another crowd pleaser and best seller.
• No. 3: Trinity Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, 2009 (Salem, Ore.)
This pinot noir has amazed us all year long! It’s a luscious full-bodied pinot that delivers complex flavors of black cherry, earth and spice. If you like big bodied pinot noir, you should give this wine a try. I guarantee you’ll be impressed.
• No. 4: Sineann White Table Wine, 2013 (Newberg, Ore.)
Who doesn’t love Sineann? The label says it’s a white table wine, but let’s be honest, this wine is 100 perent sauvignon blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand. Packed with citrus aromas and flavors, this beauty goes nicely with shellfish, seafood or a cheese platter. Plus, it’s less than $20. You can’t argue with that!
• No. 5: Puffin Pinot Gris, 2013 (Cannon Beach, Ore.) Yes, it’s a shameless plug for my own Puffin wine. But, it did win a double gold medal (highest possible rating) at the 2014 Oregon Wine Awards and was the only Oregon pinot gris to win a gold medal at the 2014 Northwest Invitational Wine Competition. This wine presents with apple, pear and is nicely balanced. There isn’t much of this wine left, so get it while you can.
• No. 6: Alexandria Nicole “Jet Black” Syrah, 2012 (Prosser, Wash.)
The name comes from the deep dark color of the wine. This wine offers blackberry, dark cherry, leather and coffee flavors (yum!). If you like your syrah dark and brooding, put Jet Black on your shopping list. Pair this with game or lamb. In my house, this goes nicely with burgers because Maryann would freak out if I ate lamb.
• No. 7: Zerba Cabernet Franc, 2011 (Milton Freewater, Ore.)
Zerba delivers another classic! This cab franc delivers dark fruit, currant and cedar with a streak of tobacco. When I drink this wine, I want to eat a pork roast! For you vegetarians…a grilled portobello mushroom is an amazing pairing.
• No. 8: Puffin Pinot Noir, 2012 (Cannon Beach, Ore.)
This is The Wine Shack’s No. 1 selling wine and it’s because this wine is delicious and well priced. This wine is a “single vineyard, estate pinot noir” at the price of a multi-vineyard cuvee. A midbodied, this wine is packed with cherry fruit flavor and is a perfect wine to enjoy with salmon, turkey or ham.
• No. 9: Noval “Black” Port, Non- (Portugal).
This fruit packed ruby port has been on the list for three years in a row. I don’t know what else to say but you have to try this wine! Even customers who swear they don’t like port end up saying “Mmmmmm” when they taste Noval Black. Wine Spectator’s Top Wines List was packed full of ports, but I can’t see how any of them are better than this.
• No. 10 Pudding River, Viognier, 2013 (Salem, Ore.)
Winemaker Sean Driggers delivers another incredible wine! This wine is aromatic and packed full of flavors of apricot and flowers. But, it’s so dry it has dust! (No, it doesn’t really, but you get my point.) My employee, Lee Roberts, loves this wine and recommends it to customers looking for an aromatic white wine.
There you have it, The Wine Shack’s 2014 rock star “Wines of the Year.” But, wait …we need 12 wines to make a full case, so here are two more wines for you: No. 11: Lujon Riesling (Ore.) and No. 12: AbaNo. cela “Vintners Red Blend” (Ore.). These two world class wines are priced under $20, each an exceptional value.
I am proud to say that the average price for these 12 wines is only $29. For some, that may seem high, but for serious wine drinkers, $29 is a very reasonable price, considering the quality of these wines. If you would like to pick up this case of wine, we are offering them for only $300 (a savings of over $50). You could also purchase this at our online store, http://store.beachwine.com.
Happy holidays from all of us at The Wine Shack. Please do not drink and drive. We want to see you again at The Shack in 2015!
Steven and Maryann Sinkler own The Wine Shack in Cannon Beach. Steven’s column appears once a month.